Britain's Secret Homes

The series Britain's Secret Homes began last week and one of the many buildings featured was Stonyhurst - the Jesuit boarding school attended by Arthur Conan Doyle. The segment was presented by Anthony Horowitz.

Horowitz with the actor who played Doyle

I had high hopes for the segment but I was left disappointed. While I accept that the piece did rather need to focus on Stonyhurst and its literary connection, it was not exactly right to imply that the building and ACD's memories of it led to the creation of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Horowitz suggested that the building was the model for Baskerville Hall and this has a lot to comment it. But he went on to essentially suggest that the surrounding landscape was the model for the moors and that the practice of allowing dogs in the grounds fed the idea of the hound itself. Now this may not be how he meant it to come out - we don't event know if he wrote what he said - but it would appear that, in an effort to talk up the building, the other strong influences were essentially written out.

Stonyhurst and ACD's memories of it certainly found their way into the story but there were many other influences and the programme's short segment did not do the facts justice. I find myself wishing it had not been covered at all.

Link to the UK catch-up service:

For more information on Arthur Conan Doyle and his time at Undershaw please refer to my book, An Entirely New Country which is available through all good bookstores including Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Classic Specialities, and in all electronic formats including iTunes, Kobo, Nook and Kindle .

The Norwood Author is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Waterstones UK, Amazon UK,  Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble, Amazon Kindle, iBooks for the iPad/iPhone, Kobo Books, Nook.

Close to Holmes is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Amazon USABarnes and NobleAmazon UKWaterstones UKAmazon KindleKoboNook  and iBooks for the iPad/iPhone.

Eliminate the Impossible is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks for the iPad/iPhone.

1 comment:

  1. Huh....I don't get that, either. It's very easy to trace the whole meeting/partnership with Bertram Fletcher Robinson, the 2 (at least) research visits to Devon, etc. for HOUN--and plenty of people know about those connections, not just those into Holmesian trivia. They must have really been stretching for material, but plenty of other people attended and taught at Stonyhurst who might have been interesting to look into if they needed to fill space. Did they talk about how ACD's experiences with some of the teachers there contributed to his disenchantment with organized religion, thereby helping to pave the way for his later involvement with spiritualism? (Leah)